Tag Archives: kumon

Motivating Children by Developing a Growth Mindset

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By: The Kumon Team

“Motivation is the most important factor in determining whether you succeed in the long run. What I mean by motivation is not only the desire to achieve, but also the love of learning, the love of challenge, and the ability to thrive on obstacles. These are the greatest gifts we can give our students.” – Carol Dweck

Parents often ask how they can help their child become more motivated to learn, especially material that is above grade level. Stanford University Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck demonstrates that communication to children about their effort, successes, and setbacks often shapes a child’s mindset and motivation.

Here is how it works:

–The author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck postulates that people have either a “fixed mindset” or “growth mindset” that influences our perspective and communication.
–When we believe that success is based on innate ability, we are said to have a fixed theory of intelligence, otherwise known as a fixed mindset.
–When we believe that success is based on hard work, learning, and perseverance, we are said to have a growth theory of intelligence, also called growth mindset.

Parents and Instructors are most effective when they praise effort and results equally. Praising effort means recognizing errors as learning opportunities that lead to improvement and success. The brain is a muscle that becomes stronger through hard work and learning from our mistakes. We can motivate children to develop a growth mindset and achieve their goals through communication about effort, learning, and persistence.

“I’ve got to have a growth mindset, man. That’s what it’s about, me still trying to improve even at 30 and (after) 12 years in the league.” – LeBron James

Interested in Kumon’s programs? Check out all available NYC programs and locations here!

The Harvest of Your Child’s Education

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By: The Kumon Team

With the arrival of October, many families have thoughts of pumpkins, trick-or-treating and Thanksgiving just around the corner. For the colonial founders of America, this time of year was harvest time, or the time for reaping the ripened fruits of their labor from the spring and summer. The same sentiment is still present, especially in the minds of high school seniors as they begin preparing their college applications this autumn. After years of hard work and studying, these students will soon reap their rewards through exceptional SATs scores and early acceptance letters from top universities across the country.

Although your children may be a long way away from applying to colleges, remember the long-term benefits of the Kumon Program. For example, the daily routine of Kumon homework helps remind your children that success is a step by step process and can be achieved by working hard each day. In addition, the confidence that the Kumon Program builds in your children helps encourage them to tackle new challenges, such as joining the debate team or striving to make the honor roll.

The Kumon Program requires diligent practice and commitment by both students and parents to attain academic success.  As Kumon Students, your children will learn to commit to completing Kumon homework on a daily basis, understanding it will help them to achieve their long-term academic goals.

Kumon has convenient locations around New York City. Visit the Kidz Central Station website to find the location nearest to you, and to learn about how the Kumon Program helps children reap a bountiful harvest later in their academic careers.

Interested in Kumon’s programs? Check out all available NYC programs and locations here!

Preparing to Go Back to School

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By: The Kumon Team

August is a good month to prepare for the new school year while still savoring the joys of summer. If you’re like most parents, juggling fun and learning isn’t always easy. Summer vacation is meant to give children a break from their long days of school, but it doesn’t mean students should stop learning completely. Children who continue learning over the summer have a much easier time adjusting to the full-time school schedule in September.

While summer fun is at an all-time high, use the month of August to get them back into a routine that is more closely aligned with the fall schedule. You can set a specific time for reading a book each day and make it fun by establishing “together time.” For instance, you can ask your child to read a book that matches a summer activity you shared, such as going to the beach, riding horses, or camping. Enhance these special learning moments by taking the reading session outdoors on a picnic or under a tree. To show interest in what your child is reading, and to learn more about his or her interests and reading style, try to schedule the reading time before dinner so that conversation at mealtime is filled with questions about the story.

As the school year comes into focus, your child may have some concerns and hesitation. From new teachers to new friends, new schools to new schedules, the anticipation of school starting up again can cloud the excitement of the awaiting opportunities. You can help your child adjust to back to school by listening and forming a strong connection with your child. Doing this reinforces the idea that your child isn’t going through this alone and that the people closest to him or her understand the mixed emotions that come with new beginnings. August is the perfect time to turn back-to-school blues into back-to-school bliss.

Interested in Kumon’s programs? Check out all available NYC programs and locations here!

Equation Motivation for Kids: The Importance of Math in Everyday Life

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By: The Kumon Team

“When will I use math?” This question is often posed by students, who wonder how topics like factorization and algebra will play a role in their everyday lives. What many people don’t realize is that we use math in everyday activities like making purchases, tracking cellphone minutes, and even baking.

Looking for a few ways to motivate your child to enjoy math? Encourage him or her by discussing the importance of math for snagging potential dream jobs. Here are few ideas to get started:

• Animator. An animator uses linear algebra to show how an object is rotated and shifted and made larger and smaller.

Computer Scientist. Creating the next generation of gadgets and apps involves more math than one may think. Theoretical studies of algorithms are just a small part of the process.

Fashion Designer. Fashion designers use area, perimeter, and diameter as well as mathematical algorithms to create designs and calculate the amount and cost of fabric required.

Astronaut. Astronauts use math to make precise mathematical calculations, from how a spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how astronauts pilot the craft.

Architect. Architects use math to calculate the square footage of rooms and buildings, to lay out floor space dimensions, and to calculate the required space for other areas such as parking, plumbing, etc.

Many careers require a solid foundation in mathematics. Whether your child dreams of becoming a math professor, research analyst, Pixar animator, or fashion designer, give him or her the tools needed to succeed. Ranging from basic counting to advanced calculus, the Kumon Math Program enhances problem solving techniques and improves mental calculation and reasoning skills—tools that can help your child find lifelong success.

Interested in Kumon’s math program? Check out all available NYC programs and locations here!

An Important Milestone: Reading Proficiency in the Third Grade

Kumon_GroupBy: The Kumon Team

Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is considered one of the most important benchmarks in a student’s academic journey. Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade start falling behind in their knowledge and comprehension across all subjects. This effect “snowballs” as these students often fall further behind each year.

This is significant because the national average percentage of public school students reading proficiently in the beginning of fourth grade was only 34% in 2013. The other 66% of students are considered basic readers, and are four times more likely to drop out of high school. This finding comes from research conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which linked factors in students who drop out of high school. Many states have cited this report when making changes to their educational policies.

The Kumon Reading Program strengthens students’ reading abilities by building many essential literacy components such as vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. It’s important for students to read often and be exposed to a variety of genres to maintain reading proficiency throughout school. Getting into good study habits and developing strong reading skills as early as possible sets an important foundation for school success. Studying ahead of grade level enables Kumon students to read proficiently and be confident in their reading abilities.

Interested in Kumon’s reading program? Check out all available NYC programs and locations here!

Why Reading Aloud to Children from Birth is SO Important

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Reading aloud to children is a critical part of the learning process, one that will help them develop the vocabulary and skills necessary to read on their own. In fact, a recent New York Times article discussed the announcement of a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which stresses the importance of read-aloud time for infants and their parents. The AAP now urges parents to read aloud to their children from infancy to help build the pre-literacy skills needed for preschool and kindergarten. Studies have shown that children who have developed these pre-literacy skills tend to have larger vocabularies than students without them. Similarly, students with advanced pre-literacy skills perform better academically once they enter elementary school.

The new policy encourages reading, as well as talking and singing, to help increase the number of words children hear during their first few years. The article also suggests that reading should be a fun, daily family activity from infancy on.

While this new policy by the AAP is a recent development, the importance of early childhood education and the development of pre-literacy skills is a crucial concept that has been ingrained within the Kumon Program and the teachings of Toru Kumon. Toru Kumon promoted this idea of reading and developing pre-literacy skills at an early age with the phrase “reading before the age of three.”

In an essay written by Toru Kumon it states, “Children can easily learn to read before the age of three if you have children listen to songs and read to them.” Through the memorization of songs, children can increase their vocabularies and develop the ability to learn by heart, which in turn helps form the basis for self-learning. By exposing children to songs and books at an early age, parents can provide them with opportunities to build their familiarity with reading and help increase their vocabularies. In doing so, children also develop their abilities to think actively while listening to stories and picture the scenes described. By singing songs to your children and reading aloud to them, you can help strengthen their pre-literacy skills and prepare them for their academic futures.

Five Important Standardized Test-Taking Strategies


test_takersBy: The Kumon Staff

There are five basic test-taking strategies that students of any age should have when approaching any exam or assessment. These strategies are applicable to students taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam in 3rd grade as well as those taking the SAT in high school.

1. Read the instructions carefully. Skipping the instructions can lead to errors. For instance, the directions may say that more than one answer is correct and you must select all answers. Or, the directions may say to select the vocabulary answer that is opposite in meaning.

2. Read each question carefully. After reading the problem carefully and paying attention to the details, underline key words that will help you to understand the question. Seek the information needed and narrow down the important information. Is the question asking for the sum? Does the answer require a synonym?
• Recognize and ignore what is unnecessary. Often math word problems will provide extra information that you don’t need in order to solve the problem.
• If you come across a difficult question, don’t spend all of your time on it. Move on and come back to it at the end.

3. On multiple choice questions, read each answer carefully before making a selection.
• Eliminate all answers that are not correct.
• Don’t fall into the trap of looking for patterns in the answers. There really can be four “B” answers in a row.

4. Select a strategy.
• Often there is more than one way to solve a problem. Chose the strategy that will work best for you. Will you draw a picture? Will you use the regrouping method? Will you use trial and error?
• Don’t second guess yourself by changing your first answers unless you are 100% certain.

5. Use all of your time wisely.
Pay attention to time passing in relation to the time allotment.
• Don’t get distracted by other students in the room.
• If you have time, go back over as many problems as you can to make sure that the answers are correct. When finished, look closely to make sure that you have answered everything and that you haven’t overlooked any questions.

As mentioned above, an important test-taking strategy is the process of carefully examining the directions and exercises, which is routinely practiced by Kumon students. When Kumon students write an incorrect answer, they try the exercise again by carefully reviewing the directions and other given information.

How Exposure to Literature Develops Essential Reading Skills

By: The Kumon Staff

The Kumon Reading Program aims to cultivate a high level of reading ability while introducing a variety of literature to children. Whether the stories are authored by Maurice Sendak or William Shakespeare, the excerpts featured in the books’ worksheets are intended to provoke thought and imagination. In his autobiography, Give It a Try, Toru Kumon said, “I believe that the ability to think is developed by reading books.” By encouraging a love of books early, parents can help their children develop inquisitive minds full of purpose and imagination.

As Kumon students progress through the various levels of the reading program, they enhance their reading abilities by moving from words to sentences to paragraphs and longer passages. The Kumon Method develops academic ability, as well as the mindset and skills needed for students to become critical thinkers. Through continual study and practice, children develop skills that lead to critical thinking. As they reach more advanced levels in the program, they begin developing summary and critique skills.

As students progress into the higher levels of the Kumon Reading Program, they are challenged to look closely at the context of a passage and develop an understanding of the writer’s intention. The ability to observe text closely and discover the subtle meaning in words is an essential part of students’ growth and development. Through the program they’ll develop reading skills that will enable them to become even more thoughtful and inquisitive people. Ultimately, these skills can lead to success in whichever path in life our students decide to take.

To learn more about Kumon’s programs in NYC, click here!
Enjoy 50% off reading program registration, a $25 value, when you contact your local Kumon Center for an orientation before March 31st.

The Power of Practice

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By: The Kumon Team

“It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.”  ―Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Kumon Program can be compared more accurately to sport and music training than to traditional tutoring. When children learn how to play the violin or baseball, results aren’t expected to happen overnight, although they are asked to practice often. Becoming good at the piano, tennis, math, or reading requires a commitment to steadily practicing and not giving up. Instructors are academic coaches that guide children to improve their skills through practice and to reach specific goals.

There are two stages of learning a particular skill: the thinking stage and the knowing stage.  When children learn how to play basketball, they need to think about how to correctly shoot the ball. But if all the players have to think about it each time, they cannot win a game.  You have to know how to shoot to win a game.  The transition from the thinking stage to the knowing stage is achieved through practice. Practice enables us to know how to do things automatically, and it decreases the risk of making a mistake. This is why, despite being the greatest basketball player in the game, LeBron James stays late after the team practice to deliberately practice his free throw shots. Continuing to practice the fundamentals is how you become and stay excellent.

“Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice ― perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again―and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court. . . . spontaneity isn’t random.”  ―Malcolm Gladwell

To learn more about Kumon’s programs in NYC, click here!